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Alexandre da Cunha: Contratempo, Sommer & Kohl, Berlin, Sep 14 – Oct 19, 2013

Alexandre da Cunha: Contratempo
Sommer & Kohl
opening Saturday 14 September 2013, 6–9 pm
exhibition 14 September – 19 October 2013
Wednesday–Saturday 11 am – 6 pm and by appointment

extended opening hours during abc – art berlin contemporary
Friday 20 September, Saturday 21 September and Sunday 22 September 2013, 11 am – 7 pm

Sommer & Kohl are happy to present the third solo exhibition of new works by Brazilian, London-based artist Alexandre da Cunha.

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Installation view, Sommer & Kohl. Photographer: Jens Ziehe, Berlin

The title of the exhibition Contratempo – taken from one of the works in the show – suggests “a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm”. It points to Alexandre da Cunha’s strategy of transforming mundane functional objects into refined works of art, often by the simplest of means, with a subtlety and humour that avoids the sensational: walking sticks become endless columns, floor mops become woven wall hangings, baking trays are transformed into mobiles, and cement mixers are polished into intriguing sculptures. The works are conceptual, but at the same time a love of materiality shows: they are intricately crafted, knitted together, polished. The artist’s hand can be seen, playfully re-arranging and transforming the perception of found, industrial and mass-produced materials. At times the work can be ambitious in scale: Recently da Cunha has transformed whole cement truck drums into huge outdoor sculptures.

Alexandre da Cunha references art history, in particular Arte Povera, Neo-Concretism and modernist vocabulary such as endless columns, mobiles, standing figures, room dividers. Often, Brazilian and European influences are convergent in the work, akin to fusing Bossa Nova with Kraftwerk.

Contratempo embraces a selection of new works that vary in form and technique. It features six large cement mixer drums, regenerated through several artistic processes altering their original metal surface. Mandala, a sand-coloured wall piece crafted from a single floor mop attached to a heavy piece of felt, nods to his investigations of traditional methods of making. Da Cunha has created several tapestry-like pieces made of cleaning mops, a recurrent element in his work. 

The evocation of reuse and material experimentation is present throughout the exhibition. For the first time, the artist shows a small video projection entitled Contratempo and giving the show its name. It consists of a sequence of found images of explosions that were edited taking on board elements of shape, colour, relationship with painting (they are displayed intimately like drawings or watercolours). The repetition creates a linear rhythm, a pace, a sort of meditative space where the meaning or content is more like a subtext. It is an attempt to create an atmosphere of something soft, vague, beautiful and delicate, built of visual material that is more commonly associated with tragic events.

Alexandre da Cunha’s works have been widely exhibited both in the Americas and in Europe. Recent exhibitions include the 30th São Paulo Biennial, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in San Francisco, Camden Arts Centre in London, Witte de With in Rotterdam, Neuer Aachener Kunstverein and the Venice Biennale. An installation of his works has just been completed at Centro de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and a new outdoors commission was installed at a public square in West London earlier this year. A monographic catalogue on Alexandre da Cunha’s work is published by Editora Cobogó.

For further information and/or images please contact Sommer & Kohl.